BMW at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show
Detroit in January will not see too many drop-top drive-thru’s, but at next week’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), BMW Group will be offering a glimpse of sunnier days ahead with the global unveiling of the new MINI Convertible Sidewalk and the all-new BMW 3 Series Convertible. Both cars go on sale in the UK in spring and both are set to hit the number one sales slots in their respective segments.
The new BMW 3 Series Convertible introduces innovative technologies and BMW’s first-ever retractable electronically operated hardtop roof. The new model will be launched in 325i and 335i derivatives.
The MINI meanwhile continues the theme of introducing special editions within the range. Like the successful MINI One Seven, Cooper Park Lane and Cooper S Checkmate editions (8,000 sold in 12 months since launch), the Sidewalk introduces a package of design and content features that will set it apart when the sun comes out. Sidewalk will be available on MINI One, Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles.
MINI Convertible Sidewalk highlights
A host of design enhancements and accessories feature on the MINI Convertible Sidewalk, which is priced from 33,200$. These culminate in a package that represents a 25 per cent saving compared to a regular Convertible model specified with the Sidewalk’s list of standard equipment. In addition to the list of standard equipment, specification unique to the Sidewalk includes:
- Choice of four paintwork colours
- Malt Brown English Leather upholstery
- 17” Night Spoke light alloy wheels
- Bi-colour leather steering wheel and gear knob
- ‘Sidewalk’ interior trim, floor mats, badges and door inserts
The MINI Convertible has led the open-top market in the UK since its launch in 2004. Its position as a firm favourite among convertible drivers was reinforced in 2006, with more than 8,500 models finding UK homes last year.
The new 3 Series Convertible will be revealed at the BMW press conference on Sunday 7 January at 15.40 EST, with the MINI making its debut on Monday 8 January at 13.20 EST.
Clearly a 3 Series, the Convertible is differentiated in design at the front, back and side from the Saloon and Touring variants with its visually elongated lines and wide stance. The new Convertible also features the first electronically-operated folding hard-top roof offered by BMW and is the world’s first car to be offered with SunReflective seat cooling leather. Under the skin, it will be powered by two efficient yet powerful engines at launch.
The new 3 Series Convertible features a three-piece electronically-operated retractable hard-top – a first for BMW. Not only does the new roof deliver the highest levels of refinement and insulation but it also offers added security, better visibility and a greater feeling of space and light for occupants. Because the roof features a larger rear glass windscreen and side windows, visibility has improved by 38 per cent compared to the outgoing 3 Series Convertible.
And, unlike any other convertible, owners of BMW’s latest open-top can enjoy the warm weather and leave the roof down for prolonged periods without singeing themselves on the seats or armrests, thanks to BMW’s unique Sun-Reflective Technology leather upholstery. Special pigments embedded into the leather help reflect infra-red radiation ensuring treated areas that are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period can remain up to 20 degrees cooler compared to untreated leather.
But, in common with every other BMW and unlike many competitors, the 3 Series Convertible offers ‘show’ and ‘go’ in equal measures. A choice of two petrol engines at launch, the 325i and 335i, both featuring High-Precision Direct Injection technology, offer the perfect blend of performance and economy with further four-and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to follow during the model’s life cycle.
The BMW stand at the North American International Auto Show will also feature BMW’s new X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and the Hydrogen 7, a car that offers an insight into the future of fossil fuel-free motoring.